U of S law professor wins international Brightspace Innovation Award

Although his path to becoming a law professor was unconventional and his approach to teaching is not par for the course, John Kleefeld has been recognized for his effort and creativity with the 2015 International Brightspace Innovation Award in Teaching and Learning.

The award, which celebrates innovative approaches to teaching in higher education, is presented by the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and sponsored by Desire2Learn.

Kleefeld's classroom is rich with opportunities for students to collaborate and discuss cases, and to put their learning into non-traditional forms such as hip hop songs, poems, visual art and more. His path to a career teaching law included working as a natural foods chef, owning a building maintenance company, and then returning to school to become a practicing lawyer. And that path is not the only unconventional thing about him. Kleefeld's approach to teaching, which incorporates everything from real-life simulations and creative alternatives to traditional assignments, is also unique within the context of legal education.

"The teaching practices that are being honoured with this award challenge the traditional culture of legal education," said Kleefeld. "I've tried to pose and meet those challenges by bringing others along with me. In that, I'm grateful for the support I've had from students, faculty, members of the legal profession, and the University of Saskatchewan, including the staff at the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness. In many ways this is their success and their award too."

"With a 2015 Brightspace Innovation Award in hand, Professor Kleefeld is honoured for the energy and creativity he brings to teaching and learning at the University of Saskatchewan," said Vice-Provost Teaching and Learning Patti McDougall. "John becomes another powerful example of what innovative teaching looks like at the university and of what can be accomplished within a supportive learning culture."

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For more information, contact:

Wenona Partridge

Instructional Design Assistant

University of Saskatchewan


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